Like the questions says, how do you use complacent in a hypothetical situation?

Would you say, "I would have become more complacent if I would have gotten into NYU?"

  • ...if I had gotten -- will/would is used in a condition (if) clause only in a very narrow range of contexts. Nov 10, 2018 at 17:42
  • @StoneyB Can you complete that sentence, my brain is still clueless about framing that sentence.
    – Aditya
    Nov 10, 2018 at 17:47
  • 1
    I would have become more complacent if I had gotten into NYU. Or had got into NYU in BrE. Nov 10, 2018 at 17:50
  • Okay.. So that is the same as what I said in the question.
    – Aditya
    Nov 10, 2018 at 17:51
  • 1
    Nope. You said would have gotten. The question in your title is not an if clause. Nov 10, 2018 at 17:52

2 Answers 2


Complacent is a fairly undistinguished adjective.

You can use it after be or become much as you might use lazy.

He/she might become (too) complacent if they get the job through their parents' intervention.

I was fearful of becoming (too) complacent after several years as chairman.

Being (too) complacent about his neighbours' poverty was something he feared.


When I was in the us. army, this word was used as an adjective in the following definition

pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied - https://www.dictionary.com/browse/complacent

When going on patrols, it is of the utmost importance to always be aware of the details of your surroundings. For example, driving down a road you notice some concrete barriers that were not there the last time you came through. Vrs the act of not noticing the change because you have traveled that same route several times before with nothing happening, so you assume nothing will change. Or that your ego gets the better of you by thinking you are the most powerful force to be there at any given moment. In that sense you become complacent.

A suitable substitute to complacence as defined above would be the idiom "take for granted".

  1. Fail to properly appreciate (someone or something), especially as a result of overfamiliarity.

  2. take something for grantedAssume that something is true without questioning it. - https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/take_for_granted

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